What will be the focus of your stand at FNB JoburgArtFair and how do you aim to use it as a ‘platform’ for artists?
The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios will present the David Koloane Award – Artist Writers Mentorship. The award is a celebration of the life and career of Dr David Koloane, internationally respected artist, curator, writer and founder of the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios. The programme will focus on developing critical writing and approaches to the contemporary visual art landscape. Young writers will be mentored by established South African writers and critics Ashraf Jamal and Robyn Sassen. Together they will produce a small publication based on the works of select Bag Factory Artists.
Why is exposure at a fair of this calibre so important for artists? What role do fairs play?
The FNB JoburgArtFair has been the leading contemporary African art fair for ten years, attracting international collectors, curators and gallerists, which makes it the perfect platform for young artists to have their work exposed to the larger art industry. Young artists often still struggle to get local opportunities with galleries and exhibitions so to have their work shown at a fair like this is an incredible opportunity to showcase who they are and also to interact with other artists, curators and writers from the continent and beyond.
What role does your organisation play as a ‘platform’ for artists?
The Bag Factory has been instrumental in providing opportunities, development and informal mentorship for many now established South African artists and current young emerging artists. We provide a space that allows for the creation and experimentation of visual practice for emerging and established artists. Through our local and international partnerships with organisations, businesses and funders, we are able to provide an exchange of knowledge, skills and ideas while showcasing the excellence of the growing art industry.
What positive outcomes have you seen from your current projects?
Our programmes have given rise to the careers of artists like Blessing Ngobeni, Asanda Kupa and Benon Lutaaya, many of our studio artists and award recipients have received opportunities to showcase their work internationally through our networks as well as being taken on by major galleries. Our current aim is to nurture and grow exciting new talent, so look out for young artists coming through our space.
What are your organisation’s plans for the rest of 2017 and 2018?
We are currently hosting the 2016 Absa L’Atelier Merit Award Winner Onyis Martin for his award residency and running the second edition of the Young Female Residency. We will present projects at FNB JoburgArtFair in September and Aardklop in October. Anthea Moys and A’shua Imran (Singapore) will be in residence from late September to December. In 2018 we have a number of international residencies lined up including partnerships with IASPIS (Sweden) and an exchange programme with Kooshk Residency (Iran).
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s FNB JoburgArtFair?
Robin Rhode, featured artist for 2017. 2017 Special Projects – interested in seeing how guest curator Dr Zoe Whitely will curate the project as she has contributed immensely in researching contemporary artists and art practices across the African continent and the African diaspora.
Have a look at the FNB JoburgArtFair Platforms here:Friends of the Johannesburg Art Gallery The Market Photo Workshop Artist Proof Studio The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios NWU Gallery M Studio Community SA Mint Kuenyehia Trust For Contemporary Art Orange Babies